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Queen Anne Stakes preview

Last but not least for day one is the opening race on the card, the Queen Anne Stakes. This is the race which made everyone's jaw drop last year when the mighty Frankel simply destroyed the field, blowing the Frankel v Black Caviar argument out of the water. I was with an Aussie tour group in the Furlong Club last year and everyone was speechless when he careered away.

Onto this year's race.... I did have another preview lined up but I believe that writer has since deposited his laptop in the nearest river after being beset by virus woes. However you won't lose anything by reading the late replacement. William Kedjanyi, @keejayOV, writes an excellent blog covering several sports and this is an excellent preview of a very alluring race. Read more of his work here.


Royal Ascot 2013 - Queen Anne Stakes
2.30 Ascot
Queen Anne Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (Str) (Class 1) (4YO plus)
Winner £198,485

Aljamaaheer: Built on promising, albeit slightly disappointing return when beaten a head in listed company, when third in Lockinge Stakes (well ahead of Declaration of War, behind Sovereign Debt) latest (keen most of the way despite good pace) and made solid headway; realistic place claims at big price and worth consideration.

Animal Kingdom: 2011 Kentucky Derby winner who has gone onto good things since despite serious problems; Underlined himself as one of the world’s best horses with thoroughly dominant Dubai World Cup win (10f, synthetic surface) after improving greatly for return in Dirt Grade 1, but goes on any surface has his tremendous Breeders’ Cup Mile effort showed, flying late after troubled passage for second to Wise Dan after just one run that year; That took his record to 0-2 over a mile but fail to see how this trip bothers him and stays further, so stamina will be no trouble or the stiff course, and been stationed here for good while so fitness/stamina hopefully assured; The one to beat in no uncertain terms assuming ground stays good.

Chil The Kite: Steadily improving over past two seasons, winning listed event in France last year, and progression continued with third in bet365 Mile and then fourth in Lockinge; Place a possibility once again.

Declaration Of War: Rich promise before move to Ballydoyle in France, and shown no end of promise in three wins since stable debut fourth in Curragh Group 3, winning twice at 10f in good style; Reappearance win (1m, second win on ground worse than good); Sent off a hot favourite for the Lockinge after sustained gamble but could never get going and beaten 11 & 1/2 lengths in fifth, behind Sovereign Debt, Aljamaaheer and Chil The Kite; Looks vulnerable again.

Gabrial: Looked as good as he’s ever been when landing listed event on return but looked awkward both starts since; Might not have lasted 10 furlongs at Chester or enjoyed Epsom but on both starts, didn’t look good enough to trouble Group 1 horses on either occasion and readily passed over.

Gregorian: Mixed between top level and conditions events since his staying on fifth in French Guineas, although he was close third here in St James’s Palace and in second in Prix Jean Prat last year; Did the job well when winning Group 3 at Epsom lately and of potential interest here given how well he’s performed at Group 1 level, but others make more appeal.

Libranno: Benefit of a superb Fallon ride when taking the Park Stakes but since been exposed as needing 7 furlongs and also below Group 1 class based on fourth in Bet365 Mile behind Trumpet Major on seasonal reappearance.

Monsieur Chevalier: One time crack sprinter who’s lost that form and is outclassed.

Penitent: Capable of running up to high form and numerous Group 1 placed efforts; Best of the rest behind Gregorian when giving 5lbs to that one at Epsom latest, but then well beaten in the Lockinge latest and others preferred.

Sovereign Debt: Rapidly progressive last year (got blocked on several occasions in last year’s Jersey) and found his level at Group 3s, although ran above himself (possibly aided by fast pace) when second in Lockinge Stakes.

Trade Storm: Showed super turn of foot to land handicap in Dubai off 104 and Zabeel Mile before fourth in the Dubai Duty Free, coming late although birds had flown upfront; Similar performance today would put him there or thereabouts and can’t be underestimated.

Trumpet Major: Successful 2 year old campaign and won couple of Group 3’s last year, but stuffed at top level regularly and same story in Lockinge after return Group 2 win and best to look elsewhere.

Elusive Kate: Fantastic consistency at the top table of female milling last year, great comeback in Falmouth on heavy ground before dictating terms from front to win Prix Rothschild; Faced top open company twice last year and was third to Excelebration on both occasions in high quality races, form as good as any bought here; Strong each/way chance.

VERDICT: Assuming that the ground stays decent, a truly international Royal Meeting can get off to a truly international start with Dubai World Cup winner ANIMAL KINGDOM, who looks a class ahead of these on his best form, which many will count as his recent Dubai success, although his Breeders’ Cup Mile second (coming after a troubled run and on just his second start of an injury riddled year) also makes him the horse to beat. ELUSIVE KATE, twice third to Excelebration in top straight mile contests last year, is capable of being second best and merits each/way support especially with current second favourite Declaration of War looking very vulnerable, opening up the place market to his Lockinge superiors Chil the Kite, Aljamaaheer and Sovereign Debt.

Advice: 11 pts win Animal Kingdom (Evs general), 1 pt each way Elusive Kate (7/1 Bet365)


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